Seven

I’ve been in desperate places before God lately.

At the start of every day last week Haisten counted down the days to his birthday. Only 15 more days mama. Only 13 more days mama. Only 10.

As a parent it was difficult for me to struggle with not being as excited as he was about his birthday but also thankful that he didn’t understand why.

I faked it, the enthusiasm. I’ll fake it again all weekend long as the day seeps in. It’s so strange how something can be so silent and so like nails on the chalk board at the same time.

Haisten is a baby that was full of miracles. He had a soft spirit that taught me so much about my young adult self. They say if a mother has a girl first she needs a friend, but if she has a boy she needed love. I found that true in my own life, but more than my own, I watched its call to action in my Moms.

For those of you that don’t know my mom was an addict. I could give pounds of testimony of hers and maybe I should one day, but for the sake of time I’ll tell you this: after some time in prison, her sobriety was short lived and she opted for another stay in rehab. During that stay, I found out I was pregnant with my son.

I didn’t know God then, but I knew that this was His hand and her chance. I don’t think anyone would argue that Haisten’s presence in her life was the largest portion of her found sobriety. When Gracie came along, she loved her unconditionally and my other kids after that, but Haisten… he saved her.

Seven in biblical numerology means complete, rest; it also a sign of healing and of promise.

Seven is used in the Bible 735 times, 54 times in Revelation alone.

Our world was spoken into existence in 6 days, complete after a day of rest on the 7th day.

The Bible, as a whole, was originally divided into 7 major divisions. They are 1) the Law; 2) the Prophets; 3) the psalms; 4) the Gospels and Acts; 5) the General Epistles; 6) the Epistles of Paul; and 7) the book of Revelation.

The total number of originally inspired books was forty-nine, or 7 x 7, demonstrating the absolute perfection of the Word of God.

In Matthew, there are 7 parables of Jesus.

Chapter 7, my favorite, is the chapter that speaks to the unsaved Christian that he does not know.

There are 7 annual Holy days.

Jesus performed 7 healing miracles on the sabbath (7th day, holy)

The Lord’s Prayer is composed of 7 parts: 1- hallowed be your name, that we would acknowledge Him as Holy and separate 2- your kingdom come, that we would live in Christ and not in fellowship with sin 3- your will be done, that we would choose His will over our own 4-give us today our daily bread, that the Lord would be our sustenance 5- and forgive us for our trespasses, that we would repent 6- as we forgive those that trespass against us, that we would forgive as Christ has forgiven 7- and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, that we might share in the protection of our God, out of harms way from the enemy.

Seven trumpets played by seven priests for seven days to bring down the walls of Jericho.

It took Solomon seven years to build the temple.

The Israelites were exiled in Babylon for 70 years.

Jesus said forgiven 70×7 times to represent complete and total reconciliation and restoration.

In the book of Revelation there are seven churches, seven angels to the seven churches, seven seals, seven trumpet plagues, seven thunders and the seven last plagues. The first resurrection of the dead takes place at the 7th trumpet, completing salvation for the Church.

My mom showed up in the middle of her relapse last year Haistens 7th birthday. It was the last time my family and I would see her alive.

Days later when I held the hands of my babies and made her death sound like something super magical, he drew her a rainbow because “those were her favorite and God liked them too.”

The rainbow has seven colors, and symbolizes a promise from God.

While many other symbols of promise are weaved throughout scripture many times, the rainbow? It is mentioned only 7 times.

“A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” So some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?” So they were saying, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about. Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” John 16

This is the passage of scripture I read with the message I gave at Mama’s funeral.

Several chapters leading up to this piece of scripture, Jesus had been trying to prepare the disciples for his death but they did not understand.

Knowing their questions, Jesus told them a time was coming that will hurt. He warns that they will weep and mourn, but that sorrow will turn into joy.

He compares this anguish to labor. When you can hold the fruit of what you’ve suffered through, you can’t remember the tears that you’ve spent all those hours counting before.

I was talking to a friend on the phone yesterday and she was telling me of a breakthrough with someone she and I have been praying over for some time now and as she described it, I was overwhelmed with the spirit of God.

Immediately after chills rushed down my arms, I felt rebound anger.

I told her how thankful I was to hear that, but was entirely vulnerable when I also told her how frustrating it was for me.

The last several weeks I’ve been literally on my face before the Lord and it’s like I cannot summon His presence. No matter how much I sift the scriptures and posture myself, it’s like I can’t call and He come.

I laughed as I confessed to her that I had recently bought a guitar because… work and school and life… Ive spent a lot of time ‘busy’ and thought this could be a new way to connect with the Lord.

I’ve had the guitar for a few days now and I put some chords together last night and they felt so familiar but I could not place them. This morning I get up early to leave for Livingston, Al for work.

The lights were left on and my battery was dead.

It would be an hour before my husband would be home so I could getting going so I go inside and open up my Bible to where I last left off.

Numbers 6.

“The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”

After I cried before both my friend and the Lord yesterday afternoon for a piece of anything to grasp to, He gave me chords I recognized, but didn’t understand.

The next morning, He made me stop and gave me the rest.

There are things the Lord tries to prepare us for, things we do not understand, things we ask for, things we resist, things we try to pray our way out of.

Prayer is the vessel in which commune with God, not the portal in which we submit our requests.

If we continue reading in John 16 we see this: “In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

You will receive does not mean you will get.

The Greek word here is λαμβάνω. It means Accept, + be amazed, assay, attain, bring, X when I call, catch, come on (X unto), + forget, have, hold, obtain, receive (X after), take (away, up). The detailed definition is to take: To take with the hand, lay hold of, any person or thing in order to use it, to take up a thing to be carried, to take upon one’s self.

When we look at all of these things above in full context, it breaks down what Jesus is relaying.

You will not call on me- means I will not be here because I will have died on your behalf. Instead, you will call on God because I’ve opened a way for you two to know one another.

Whatever you ask the Father in my name, you will receive- means you are going to get to fellowship with him y’all, and when you do, when you meet him, truly meet him, you will be in awe. He will call you according to his will and you will receive that call and take it. You will receive his hand and be carried as He uses you.

God used Haisten to make a way for me to have a relationship with my mom that I never had, and seven years later, after that relationship was restored completely, 7 years exactly, He gave her healing.

When our dad died, my sister was nine. I had to tell her there had been an accident, and our dad was dead.

I find it strange that after all of these years of sobriety, seven years, I scrambled to my sister so I could be there to tell her our mother was now dead, too, and all I did was wake her. I didn’t have to say a word.

It’s like deep down we always had a fear that addiction would end her life one day, but in between two periods of grief, God gave us grace to restore the things that were broken.

Jesus was so intentional with his conversations with his disciples leading up to his crucifixion, but they lacked understanding… and don’t we too?

I’ve been so angry because I was so certain that her death would mean something specific in the lives of my kids, that everyone would see that death doesn’t always knock but just intrudes and that resolve and reconciliation just can’t wait, that the path of divide is destructive and those in its path are innocent.. and a year later nothing has changed.

Some times God will use a death or a diagnosis and then there are mornings He will whisper through a poorly played guitar but his construct, his plan is absolutely perfect.

Pray and receive really translate pray and be used.

God does not need our participation in order to accomplish His will, but I do believe our participation determines how we experience it. We can receive all He has for us with evasiveness or we can stand in the places He has provided for us and be vessels of testimony and invitation. Either way, He is still God and both ways He is still in control.

Father,

I pray over every hurting addict today, God. I pray seven times, that there may be healing and power in the place where they ask ‘in Jesus’ name’ and you take. I pray for the veil to be torn between the hard things in our lives and your purpose for them and for me, that we would stand, even weeping, ready and willing for you to take and use because yours is the kingdom and it will come. Instead of asking God, I’m thanking. Thank you, Lord, for the peace that is in me and with me Lord, for the whispers, and for You

Amen,

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